Mourner killed in Manor Park cemetery called a ‘grass’ before attack, court hears

Police at City of London Cemetery in Manor Park

Police at City of London Cemetery in Manor Park - Credit: Archant

A mourner was stabbed in the neck at a family funeral after being called a “grass”, a court heard today.

Peter Charles John, 55, was attending the funeral of his wife’s stepfather at the City of London cemetery, Manor Park, on July 23 last year when he was killed, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Another man attending the service, John Nicholles, yelled at Mr John before allegedly taking a knife from his pocket and stabbing him, jurors were told.

Sarah Plaschkes QC, prosecuting, said Nicholles, 54, was “seen arguing and fighting with Peter John in the grounds of the cemetery”.

Digger driver Mr John, his wife Donna and their daughter had been among 120 mourners attending a funeral at Our Lady of the Assumption church in Bethnal Green before a funeral procession to the cemetery, the court heard.

Ms Plaschkes said Nicholles had two passengers in his car, including William Pender, when he arrived at the cemetery.

She said: “He [Mr Pender] heard the defendant shout ‘you are a grass’ and Peter John responded ‘I’m no grass’ then he saw the defendant punch Peter John in the head.

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“William Pender saw the defendant kick Peter John and he said a knife came out of the defendant’s pocket.”

Mr Pender walked away as he was “frightened and upset” and joined the other mourners at the graveside, according to the prosecution, but neither Mr John or Nicholles appeared.

The body of Mr John, of East Acton, was later found by a grounds maintenance worker and was pronounced dead after being airlifted to the Royal London Hospital, the court heard.

Nicholles, of Binfield Road, Clapham, denies murder.

The trial continues.